All posts by nagi

New Project Announcement!

Hello, readers and writers! I hope folks are having a productive NaNoWriMo. I’m plugging away on my own work, which ties into the news I have today.

In the coming months I will be publishing a serial fiction story through BloodLetterPress, the Kamen Rider Calliope Project.  Every week you’ll be able to check in on our site to read the latest installment, similar to novels published in newspapers or magazines in the 19th and 20th centuries. The format has since mostly migrated online, and I’ve been interested in exploring the medium for awhile now.

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Meet The Locals: Premade Characters for Stars Fall Up

Hi All,

BLP had an amazing time running our game Stars Fall Up with folks who attended Jiffycon this past weekend! A huge thanks to all who showed up and hung out with us. Seeing people be excited about the game makes us 1020% more excited about it as well, and personally speaking, it makes me want to keep making supplements for the game.

So here’s our first offering. Below you’ll find six pre-generated character that we used at Jiffycon for our SFU session. They’re totally free to use and remix however you feel like, so go nuts. The character templates are purposely vague to allow for a great amount of customization from players, while not having to fret over coming up ideas for backgrounds and #tags.

Continue reading Meet The Locals: Premade Characters for Stars Fall Up

Going Around: Colorful Descriptions

Hey all, I (Nagi) am in charge of this week’s Going Around feature. I wanted to stick with the theme of fall, but we already did spooky last week. But the autumnal times are also periods of wonderful color, at least if you’re living in certain climate zones. So I want to ask:

Why is color important in creative media? What are your favorite examples of color in a piece of art or a narrative?

Continue reading Going Around: Colorful Descriptions

Are We Having Fun Yet? (Part 2)

So, last week, I introduced the problem I was having with making engaging combat encounters with my teenage player group with a DnD homebrew system I’m running. And I promised an answer for my game design woes. Well, here it is:

I don’t really enjoy combat encounters myself. (Was that dramatic reveal worth the wait? Don’t answer that).

And from what I’ve seen, my players don’t either. But games like DnD are literally designed around combat encounters (or at least the first four editions were, I don’t have much experience with 5e); your character gains power and levels through EXP and loot obtained after beating up baddies. It’s more than something you’re encouraged to do via game mechanics; it’s the game’s M.O. It’s how you play the game.

Continue reading Are We Having Fun Yet? (Part 2)

Are We Having Fun Yet? (Part 1)

A generational gap that divides opinions on what makes a game worth playing

My first roleplaying game experience takes me back to when I was 12 years old. I stepped out of a December snowsquall into Phoenix Games, a hole-in-the-wall game store squeezed into a strip mall five minutes down the road from my house. After purchasing the 3.5 DnD Player’s Handbook there, I joined a game group made up of kids who would become my closest friends for the next six to fifteen years. The game was run by the owner of the store, a late gen-X geek in his mid-twenties who got paid either nothing to way too little to put up with all of our teenage bullshit for the next few years. It was a seminal time for me, is the picture I’m trying to paint here.

Continue reading Are We Having Fun Yet? (Part 1)

Dev Log 3: What are “Communal Action” RPGs?

I described Stars Fall Up as a “Communal Action” roleplaying game in the launch post. It’s a term I came up with myself, so I figured I should elaborate a bit more. In a roleplaying game that uses the Communal Action model, all players share equal power in creating the world they’re playing in, and determining the consequences of the actions their characters take. Many would recognize similarities to improv theater or collaborative writing.

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Fireworks vs Castle Narrative, Pt.1

Identifying the differences between stories that build up and stories that burst brightly

I have an issue with some stories that I don’t have with others, even when the pieces of media are relatively similar in aesthetic or narrative scope. I wondered about it on and off for years, trying to figure out the “X factor” that switched the paths in my brain between “I’m thoroughly engaged in this” and “I can’t figure out if I’m only watching this ironically now”. And while my analysis is far from complete, I feel confident enough in my results to write this post, which I’m hoping will be the first in a series of thoughtpieces on this topic.

Continue reading Fireworks vs Castle Narrative, Pt.1

Xed by Design: Breath of the Wild and TRPGs

Welcome to Xed (Crossed) by Design, a new article series in which I’ll be examining a game feature that two different creative mediums have in common. In this inaugural post, I’ll be looking at the dynamics of puzzles and player interaction in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and table-top roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons.

Here I’m going to make a case that we can study Breath of the Wild to learn how to make better puzzles and encounters in table-top roleplaying games.

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Dev Log 2: Stars Fall Up (redesign 2.0 finalization)

This is the second Dev Log for Stars Fall Up. One good piece of criticism I got about the last Dev Log was that it was more about my personal philosophy on game design, rather than focusing on my process or the mechanics. It’s true, and the latter is where I want to be focusing with these Logs.

However, I’m also letting myself write about what’s buzzing about in my mind most, so a balance may have to be struck. This Dev Log is more about “game writing” than “game mechanics”, and I’m fine with that.

Continue reading Dev Log 2: Stars Fall Up (redesign 2.0 finalization)